The Best Bead Show, Tucson AZ, Feb 6th-10th 2008

That’s right, they don’t get any better than the Best Bead Show, which begins a week from today in Tucson AZ. Every February, the city hosts the largest gathering of bead, jewelry, gem, and mineral shows in the world. Fifty shows are officially scheduled for this year, along with a host of other associated business that doesn’t make the Tucson Show Guide. The show guide is the one stop shop for information on the many shows happening, but it can be overwhelming. Go no further than the Best Bead Show if what you seek is the latest beads from the world’s best contemporary bead artists.

It took a couple years on the waiting list before I got a spot in this show and I intend to hang on to it. This is front row in a marketplace that each year attracts 750,000 buyers from around the world. The show was started and is run by Lewis Wilson, a skilled glass lampworker and one of the central supporters of a thriving glass community here.

Lampwork beadmakers are the forerunners of the art bead movement, and paved the way for polymer and other mediums to follow. This is the place to find the best of them. I am lucky to be hosted by one of my favorites, my good friend Bronwen Heilman of Ghost Cow Glassworks.


Bronwen was one of the first artists in the country to make contemporary glass beads and has been a technical pioneer and artistic leader ever since. She was the first to use vitreous paints on her lampworked beads and has a marvelously expressive serious of portrait and cityscape beads. I’ll be writing more about her and all my other beady friends soon, but for now I have to get into the studio and finish my beads. (Yes! I actually have been working in the studio!)

If you don’t already have plans you better get on it quick, as hotels sell out well in advance. For those of you who already know what is up…I will see you at The Best Bead Show.